Do you hold the elevator door for someone? Where do you look when standing in the elevator?


 Three out of ten Americans admit to closing the elevator door to prevent someone else from getting on. I think the real number’s higher. But did you know that it’s not always the polite thing to do to hold the door open?

 So, let’s discuss elevator etiquette.


Let’s start with holding the door open.


Think about the other people in the elevator. Maybe you’re wasting their time. If you’re alone in the elevator, use your judgment. Is the person coming up to the door a bit creepy…a tad weird? Do they look like a farter?


If the elevator is full, there’s no shame in displaying an apologetic expression and then letting the doors close. Did you know that some people claim the close door button is just a decoy and does not work? I refuse to believe it. Auntie Kiki tends to pretend she’s struggling to find the open the door button and then makes a truly distraught face when it closes. Think of it in terms of fate. If the person running for that elevator was meant to make it, they would have. It’s the universe’s decision. So, if someone didn’t keep the door open for you and you end up nose to nose with them later in the day, the proper etiquette would be to not call them out.


Well, unless they looked you straight in the face and laughed maniacally while the doors were closing. That’s different.


Now, here are some of the other elevator etiquette rules you need to know.


The two flight rule. If you’re going less than two flights, your lazy ass goes up the stairs. Because your being a lazy shit adds to everyone else’s commute. But I’m not a monster. This rule does not apply if you’re elderly, have a disability, or children.

When entering an elevator, you must keep proxemics in mind. This is the study of proximity between human beings. Think men at a urinal, for example. The first rule of proxemics is don’t look anyone in the eye. It’s weird. If there are two people in the elevator, stand on opposite sides of the car. Three to four people should gravitate towards the corners. Five or more, space yourselves out evenly, face forward. Arms and hands to your sides, no tickling. Face the elevator doors unless you want people to think you’re awkward and creepy. Minimal eye contact. A polite nod is standard. Anything more, and people will be closing that door when they see you coming next time.  Don’t answer the phone, carry out private conversation, eat or drink anything, or carry out any personal grooming on the elevator. I hope I don’t need to remind you not to smoke on the elevator or engage in any public displays of affection.


If the elevator is packed, the two people closest to the door should step out at any stop to allow others to exit. Make sure those people get back on. Announcing that your stop is next can be helpful to make people prepare themselves. When entering an elevator, stay clear of the doors so that others may get off first. It’s lovely if a gentleman allows a lady to exit the elevator first, but if it’s crowded, use common sense, please.

But yes, if I catch you actively pushing the close door button as I run up, I may retaliate in some passive aggressive ways later. And, darling, there’s always karma.

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